FDA probes Turkish, Vietnamese flour on yeast levels
MANILA, Philippines — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is looking into the quality of Turkish and Vietnamese flour available in the market following tests supposedly showing the presence of yeast beyond the accepted level set by the regulatory body.
Health Secretary Janette Garin, also FDA acting director general, has committed to release the results of the investigation this week.
The FDA’s action was prompted by an alert from the Philippine Association of Flour Millers, Inc., (Pafmil), which presented to the agency results of a test conducted by SGS, a global testing, verification and certification company, on samples of two brands of flour from Turkey and Vietnam.
In a letter to Garin dated Oct. 6, Pafmil showed the SGS analysis indicating that samples from Turkish brand Metro Star had a yeast count of 2,200 cfu/g (colony-forming units per gram) while specimens from Vietnamese flour Gold Crescent registered 1,800 cfu/g.
The figures were way beyond the 100 cfu/g limit set by the FDA under Circular No. 2013-2010, the Revised Guidelines for the Assessment of Microbiological Quality of Processed Food, noted Pafmil.
The FDA guidelines stated that the acceptable count of yeast and yeastlike fungi for flour was at 10 cfu/g and any number beyond 100 cfu/g in one more more samples “would cause the lot to be rejected as this indicates potential health hazard or imminent spoilage.”
“Pafmil can provide the FDA with Turkish and Vietnamese flour samples for the agency to conduct its own microbiological examination and verify the SGS test results,” Pafmil executive director Ric Pinca stated in the letter.
Pinca also asked the FDA to instruct the Bureau of Customs to hold all Vietnamese and Turkish flour imports pending the submission of microbiological tests by SGS Philippines due to the potential health hazards posed by the products to the general public.
He also proposed that all wheat flour imports must be required to present a microbiological clearance from the FDA per entry before being allowed into the country as a long-term solution to assure consumers of the safety of such imported products.
Garin acknowledged Pafmil’s report in a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Thursday. “I had it investigated already. [We are] awaiting results this week,” said the health chief. SFM
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